South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department host successful Open House

Ken Alexander’s column to the Free Press

Elyse Smith, 4, was fascinated when FireSmart mascot Ember showed up at the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department Open House May 21. She was among the several children who followed Ember around in the Fire Hall trying to get the mascot’s attention. (Ken Alexander photo)

Elyse Smith, 4, was fascinated when FireSmart mascot Ember showed up at the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department Open House May 21. She was among the several children who followed Ember around in the Fire Hall trying to get the mascot’s attention. (Ken Alexander photo)

The South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department (SGLVFD) Open House on May 21 was a success for all of the groups involved.

SGLVFD Fire Chief Roger Graham said he was pleased with the event, the first in more than two years.

There were several things for visitors to do.

The firefighters parked the apparatus outside, offering children an opportunity to climb up onto the trucks to pretend they were firefighters. The firefighters also set up a sprinkler system so visitors could see how well sprinklers could provide an excellent last line of defence if a wildfire burns its way towards a cabin or house.

South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary members, who do a lot of good work to support the fire department economically, provided hotdogs and a beverage for a donation, and also had a table of interesting raffle items. Candy Foster won the Kids Basket, while Dan McFee took home the Home Sanitizer system, Wendy Andruk the Wine Basket, Verna Labinsky the Grocery Basket and Diane Andrews the Garden Basket.

The Auxiliary used proceeds from the raffles and hotdogs to make a $750 donation to the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

Two volunteers from the local cattle fence maintenance crew had a booth and sought some new volunteers to help check for breaks in the fence lines so the cattle can’t get through and make a mess on the South Green Lake community’s properties. They managed to attract a few new helpers.

The local FireSmart crew had a couple of tables manned by the two Local FireSmart Representatives Bob Bell and myself, and Bravo Neighbourhood Champion Kathy Traynor.

Bell, who is also assistant fire chief for the SGLVFD, brought two interesting maps to the Open House – one was the history of wildfires close to the South Green Lake community and the other was a map of the three neighbourhoods designated by the local FireSmart crew.

Bell said the Open House was positive for the FireSmart booths. “The map of the wildfire history drew a lot of interest, and there was quite a bit of interest in organizing a second neighbourhood.”

He added it was nice to have Ember the FireSmart mascot at the event, as well as Ministry of Forest representatives. Ember certainly attracted the attention of the children at the event. She had a few youngsters following her around the Fire Hall hoping to get her attention.

Traynor said it was a good day for FireSmart. She was pleased to see eight property owners wanting to get some help with a home self-assessment, an important step in starting a FireSmarting project.

It was especially on the first day we opened up to the community,” she said. People were coming to our table talking to us and asking questions.”

SGLVFD trainer Del Westfall was also a busy man during the Open House, noting there is a growing interest in the sprinklers as a great last line of defence against an approaching wildfire.

“On the May long weekend in 2017 [when the Elephant Hill wildfire roared by only a couple of kilometres away from the South Green Lake community] nobody wanted a sprinkler. This year, 42 sprinklers were ordered with a four to one ratio being gable end versus ground sprinklers,” he said,

He also had orders for two full systems of two gable-end and three ground sprinklers.

Westfall said he got people to draw a picture of their yards and then he told them how to set the sprinkler system up.

“At first, I thought we would be building 40 sets of three ground and two gable end sprinklers, but now I think we’ll need 120 gable and 80 ground sprinklers.”

If there are any sprinklers leftover, Westfall said they would be for sale on the Community Day, July 31.

Three pumps were on display, which varied in price.

“You get what you pay for what you get…. We only got one person who lives off shore, who was interested in the pumps. Now that they have ways to connect gas cans together (and there are large containers for storing water), there is a lot of interest (in setting up your own system).”

If people want to order sprinklers, they can e-mail Del at lindawestfall@hotmail.com.


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